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Kisscut - Karin Slaughter
Member Name: samueltyler
Kisscut - Karin Slaughter
Advantages: Tackles issues, good when actually going somewhere
Disadvantages: Far too grim, too much characterisation and too little plot
‘Kisscut’ follows a case in the sleepy American borough of Grant County. This is the part of America that is not used to regular murders and attacks, so when Sheriff Jeffrey Tolliver has to shoot a 13 year old girl, the impact affects the whole town. With the aid of his lover Sara, the local paediatrician, and cop Lena, Jeffrey begins to explore why the girl came to be shot. They soon discover that her life was far more horrific than her death and that sleepy American towns can hold darker secrets than they could ever imagine.
When I write that this book looks at dark secrets, I mean pitch black. This book details actions such as rape and child molestation from a sensitive viewpoint. By this I mean the exploring of the feelings that the victims have. One of my typical authors may write about such horrific scenes but they would keep their tone neutral and be descriptive and not emotional. What Karin Slaughter brings to this story is a deeper understanding of the emotional turmoil a person can be forced through.
Is this a good thing? I personally do not like this over exploration of a character’s feelings, as not only did it add 200 pages too much into the book, but also prevented the case from moving quickly along. I like my crime fiction to be action packed and ready to go. I admit to being shallow in my reading and learning how a woman was brutally held captive does not interest me. The book is nasty all the way through to its ambiguous ending, it just left me felling a little depressed and with no closure.
This over examination of feelings has a particularly negative impact on the character of Lena. This is a young female cop who has recently returned to work after a being captured and repeatedly raped. This alone is not pleasant, but add to this the fact we follow large chunks of the story through her eyes and it is clear that she should never have gone back to work. I appreciate the emotional anguish she is going through but investigating the death of a 13 year old girl is unlikely to help.
This trend by Slaughter of concentrating on the relationships within the book and not the story continues with the Sara and Jeffrey. We learn a lot about their relationship and see that they are getting together. As a small part of the novel I do not mind the introduction of character development, but here Slaughter concentrates far too many resources on things that I have little interest in.
Another criticism I have of the book is that it is far too graphic. I read a lot of crime books and they do have grim scenes. ‘Kisscut’ explores areas in great detail that I have never really read about, including rape and paedophilia. I think that if a male author tried to explore how a woman feels like after being raped, they would fail. It takes a women’s touch to understand what the issues are and how someone survives such an ordeal. Slaughter uses to her advantage the fact that she can tackle these more sensitive subject and for me it was just too much. I can appreciate that for female readers this may be a refreshing change to male authors who skim over the issues. But skimming is enough for me!
Although my criticism of how issues are tackled in the book is personal I think that the fact that it’s too long and too nasty is universal. Slaughter has written a mystery novel that hardly touches on the crime and instead reflects on the character’s feelings. When I read a thriller or crime novel I am interested in the chase not the love lives and personal tragedies of the cast. This may not be the case for every reader but is for me. I will still read other novels written by women but will stick mostly to blokes writing as, if Slaughter is a typical example, they are more aimed at me.
Author: Karin Slaughter
Price: amazon uk - £4.54
play.com - £5.49
Summary: A book that may appeal to some, just not me.